Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Exclusive 25% off Affinity Photo: Professional photo editing with no subscription!

Nikon MD-12 Grip that is a PAPERWEIGHT - Help

13 Feb 2013 4:28AM

Any technical people around who can suggest why My MD-12 doesn't work? I am going to dismantle it and see what is in side as I only paid $10 for it. Anyone who has any repair experience, your guidance is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 9:56AM
Simple stuff first. Clean the battery contacts (including those inside the grip) and scratch them with a pointy thing like a screwdriver. Insert new batteries, and try bridging the 4 contacts with something metal. If it still doesn't work, it may be the shutter button microswitch or the on/off switch.

thewilliam 9 6.1k
13 Feb 2013 10:19AM
When you clean the contacts, try to use something a bit more gentle than a "pointy thing". We keep a can of Electrolube contact cleaner for such tasks and it works like magic. Or you could use an old-fashioned ink eraser.

Check the FE or FM series camera has good batteries before you attach the drive. Nick is right about bridging the 4 contacts with a coin or similar: it should respond.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 10:29AM
I didn't say that. I said clean the contacts, then scratch them.

Items like these often develop a patina over time that resists normal cleaning, and a few scratches will cut through it. You can often think you have cleaned something well, yet still have no electrical contact with bare metal.

13 Feb 2013 1:42PM
Great start, thanks!!

The previous owner let the batteries corrode in there. It wasn't huge, but enough that I had to use a tooth brush to scrap off some of the crude. No real visual damage that I can see after I used the tooth brush. Looks good.

But, it could have left a coating on the contacts. Sorry I forgot to mention this. I put fresh batteries in the MD-12 after I cleaned it.

The camera meter works fine. The battery in there is in good shape. I don't think it is the camera.

Now, here is something else I forgot to mention.

I am not familiar with the FM2n other than I can put film in it and take a picture. Camera functions fine as intended.

However, when I put the MD-12 on it, you CANNOT depress the shutter release, it has no tension. Is this the right description? I am assuming that the MD-12 disengages the shutter on the camera for the shutter release on the drive itself.

The Drive has a RED LED on it. It does NOT turn on to indicate there is any power in the drive.

I think that is the complete situation.

Thanks for your help so far, greatly appreciate!
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 2:50PM
Even without the drive fitted, you cannot depress the shutter without pre-cocking the wind lever, unless the interlock on the camera is broken. Pull it out a little till you feel the first pressure and the shutter will work as normal, even with the drive fitted.
It is a mechanical camera and does not require a battery to work. The battery is only for the meter.
The led by the on/off switch only glows when the drive is driving. It stays off otherwise.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 2:51PM
Give the contacts a good scrape with a flat screwdriver if you still don't have power in the drive.
13 Feb 2013 4:18PM
Thanks Sooty, I will give it a go tonight and report back later.

I greatly appreciate all the help and feedback.


14 Feb 2013 1:44PM
Latest update:

I took an eraser to the contacts. I then "scratched" (more like rubbed) a sharp blade over them to removed and surface grit. I took a tooth brush to the spring contacts on the cradle for the batteries and inserted fresh batteries....


Camera shutter release etc all work fine as you stated above. The batteries are making good solid contact with the four contact pins in the drive. There is resistance when I push the cradle in.

I will try to be a little more aggressive tonight with the contacts and give it one more try. I have a very fine file I can run across them to give them a good scraping. I don't quite understand the coin thing. Are you suggesting I drop a penning in between the four contacts on the drive? Would this short it?
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 8:23PM
You don't need to drop it, it won't shock you, when you short the pins it will just make the drive motor work as if you pressed the shutter. If that works but not the shutter release, it's likely the micro switch under the drive shutter button. You can try moving the selector from 'single' to 'continuous' to see if that makes a difference, and if you remove the circular cover at the base of the handgrip part, there are a couple of pins for the remote release. Shorting these with a screwdriver should fire the camera as if a remote release was fitted.

More stuff to try!

thewilliam 9 6.1k
14 Feb 2013 11:14PM
Nick has just reminded me of something. There's a retractable plastic pin in the remote release connector that tells the drive that the cord has been plugged in. I can't remember whether the release button is disabled when a cord is plugged in. Squirt a little WD40 into the socket and check that the pin moves freely. Gentle use of a bradawl should free up the pin and that might cure the problem.

My memory is hazy because it's more than a decade since I used an MD12.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2013 12:13AM
Yep. When the plastic is depressed, bridging the two pins should fire the shutter as if the remote was pressed, but trying the main 4 connectors first will establish whether or not the drive works.
16 Feb 2013 8:57PM

1) There is a METAL pin that goes into the camera. It is spring loaded. It works fine. This causes the shutter to release. Nothing wrong with it.

2) I put a penny on the contacts. Nothing.

3) I even put in a fresher set of batteries. Nothing.

Next ... Sad

Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
16 Feb 2013 11:14PM
Then it sounds like there is no power. Perhaps a contact has corroded away completely inside, or the connection from the battery is broken. Try bridging diagonal contacts of the four....ie use the edge of a silver coin between the four pins, in different orientations, twisting to make contact. The drive should lift the pin and turn the drive spindle, and the led should light when that happens. The single pin should lie flush and only lift to trip the shutter in the camera, the. Retract again.
If you have an electrical meter, you can bridge the terminals in the drive to check the circuit completes when you press the button, and with batteries in the holder you can check the circuit in that, otherwise, I'm not sure there's much more you can do.
17 Feb 2013 1:57AM
The PIN is NOT retracted. It is fully extended and when you push it down, there is spring resistance. That explains why the shutter is loose when I attach the drive. The pin is always extended, it is not flush. Thanks for telling me that.

This must be ONE issue.

I do have a meter, I have to go find it and give it a go.

I will report back to you later, thank you!!

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.